Whether you’re considering starting your own holiday let or just craving a weekend away, this converted outhouse in Kent provides real style inspiration, says Jessica Jonzen
THE LOFT-STYLE OPEN-PLAN LIVING ROOM IS A BLEND OF CAREFULLY SOURCED ANTIQUES, EBAY FINDS AND MODERN DESIGN. IMAGE: RICHARD GADSBY PHOTOGRAPHY
There are holiday lets, and then there’s The Outbuilding Appledore. What was once a rudimentary garden workshop used for making cabinetry and housing classic cars has been transformed into a stylish bolthole which gives the cabins at Soho Farmhouse a run for their money.
This incredible transformation was due to the creative vision of its owner, lifestyle journalist Amy Maynard. “I really wanted it to feel like a home and not a holiday home” she says. This means a stylish blend of New England-style weatherboarding, steel framed doors and welcoming interiors that make you feel as though you’re staying at the home of a very tasteful friend.
THE WEATHERBOARDED EXTERIOR IS PAINTED IN FARROW & BALL’S DOWNPIPE FOR A NEW ENGLAND LOOK. INSIDE, TWO EXPOSED BRICK WALLS ARE ALL THAT REMAIN OF THE ORIGINAL BUILDING. IMAGES: RICHARD GADSBY PHOTOGRAPHY
Amy and her husband, Charlie, and their children Lottie and Theo, moved from London to their four-bedroom house in Appledore, a picture-perfect village in Kent, in 2015. “We specifically wanted something that would give us an extra income. This was the first house we saw that had the potential for that kind of conversion and I just had a good feeling about it” says Amy.
The couple set to work getting quotes for converting the outbuilding. “The main house didn’t need much work, we just did some re-painting and changed the soft furnishings so we could focus on the conversion” says Amy.
The building work began in August 2017 and saw the entire structure demolished, bar two brick walls. “I wanted it to be quite open-plan and have a New York loft feel” says Amy, who in her work as a lifestyle journalist also styles houses for shoots. “Our amazing architect, Rob Pollard of RX Architects, worked brilliantly with my designs.”
THE STEEL-FRAMED DOORS WERE A STARTING POINT FOR AMY’S DESIGN. IMAGE: RICHARD GADSBY PHOTOGRAPHY
Amy knew she wanted steel framed doors and an internal window, having seen one on Houzz and these were the starting points for the design. “When we were talking about the budget with our builder, Ryan Blake from Blakes Building Solutions, he said ‘if the French doors are an important part of what you’re hoping to create then you need to go for it because you don’t want to completely lose the dream that you have in your head’ and that was good advice” she says. “We saved money internally by furnishing it with eBay and charity shop finds.”
The two remaining brick walls from the original building were limewashed to give them some uniformity and the single-storey building was clad in weatherboard and painted in Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe.
Internally, the open-plan kitchen / dining and living area is an eclectic mix of new and old. The Howdens kitchen cabinets are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Railings and topped with Carrara Bella quartz from Granite & Marble UK. Amy chose two different types of handles for the cupboards – brass and marble – from The Shop Next Door in Rye.
THE KITCHEN CABINETS ARE PAINTED IN FARROW & BALL’S RAILINGS AND TOPPED IN CARRARA BELLA QUARTZ. ANTIQUES ADD YET MORE CHARACTER TO THE LIMEWASHED BRICK WALLS. IMAGES: RICHARD GADSBY PHOTOGRAPHY
The parquet floor throughout the living and sleeping areas is a smoked and brushed, white-oiled engineered oak from Maxam Flooring. Amy found the vintage kitchen table in a charity shop and teamed it with old school chairs sourced at Ardingly Antiques & Collectors Fair. The woodburning stove with its Bert & May tiled hearth makes a stylish and cosy feature and the sofa, another eBay find, is cosied up with bright tapestry cushions.
The internal window which peeps through to the master bedroom (although a blind in Christopher Farr’s Carnival fabric in Olive lends privacy) creates the loft-style look that Amy envisaged at the beginning. The bedroom’s palette of soft greens and pinks gives it a romantic look. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Cromarty and the decadent antique roll top bath at the foot of the bed which Amy had re-enamelled was painted in Little Greene’s Light Peachblossom.
Next door, the corridor to the bathroom has been transformed into a brilliant children’s room with built-in bunkbeds. “I wanted it to feel like a ship’s cabin or a train carriage” says Amy. The whole room has been painted in Farrow & Ball’s Studio Green, giving it a cosy and enveloping feel.
THE MASTER BEDROOM HAS A FEMININE FEEL, WITH WOODEN CLAD WALLS PAINTED IN FARROW & BALL’S CROMARTY AND A HEADBOARD COVERED IN VANESSA ARBUTHNOT FABRIC. IMAGE: RICHARD GADSBY PHOTOGRAPHY
The bathroom, meanwhile, looks distinctly modern but with Art Deco references, with a shower screen from Matki which echoes the steel-framed French doors, and a mix of herringbone and hexagon tiles from Tiles Direct. The green tiles above the marble basin from are from Bert & May and Amy sourced the gold Vado taps from WC1 Bathrooms.
What on paper could seem very disparate styles tie together seamlessly. “I didn’t worry too much about everything matching” says Amy. “We shopped from the minute the build began – trawling eBay, antique shops, charity shops and junk shops – and squirrelling the items away in the main house until they were needed. Inevitably, there were things that I had changed my mind about after five months but generally we bought the things we loved and it all just somehow came together! It was a special time, as Charlie and I are never happier than when browsing for bric a brac and it was a lovely thing to do together.”
The conversion was also a fantastic creative outlet for Amy. “I felt bereft when the project was finished. The whole process was such a fabulous experience and I felt very lucky to be in a position to be able to do it. We’ve been considering The Outbuilding Mark 2!”
THE CORRIDOR LEADING TO THE BATHROOM WAS FITTED WITH BUILT-IN BUNK BEDS AND THE WHOLE ROOM WAS PAINTED IN FARROW & BALL’S STUDIO GREEN. THE ROLLTOP BATHROOM IN THE MASTER BEDROOM IS PAINTED IN LITTLE GREENE’S LIGHT PEACHBLOSSOM
And, on a practical level, how does it work having paying guests staying in the garden? “I am very sociable, so I adore it – especially in the summer when guests and their children spill out into our garden and it’s like we are all one big happy family! But equally, guests can keep themselves to themselves as much as they like, too” says Amy.
The Outbuilding has been booked out since it opened its steel-framed doors a year ago and has even been featured in The Sunday Times and inspired Amy to set up her own interior styling consultancy. Not bad going for an old workshop.
THE DIFFERENT TILES ADD COLOUR AND SHAPE TO THE MODERN LINES OF THE BATHROOM. IMAGES: RICHARD GADSBY PHOTOGRAPHY
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